THE City of Greater Bendigo has awarded the tender to manage five local pools to a Melbourne-based company because it was cheaper than re-tendering Bendigo Regional YMCA.
The Y has managed the Bendigo Aquatic Centre, Brennan Park, Heathcote, Marong and Kangaroo Flat Pools for the past five years.
Belgravia Leisure was recently awarded a two-year contract to manage the pools.
Manager active and health communities Patrick Jess said the tender process was based on cost, capacity and capability. “While both organisations demonstrated a strong capacity and capability, Belgravia Leisure was more economically viable for the city,” he said.
Bendigo Regional YMCA chief executive officer Michael Bailey said it was “incredibly disappointing” to lose the tender to a non-Bendigo-based business.
Belgravia Leisure has its head office in Melbourne and a regional manager based in Hepburn.
“We understand the tender process, but obviously it’s a metropolitan company and it’s a for-profit company,” Mr Bailey said.
“Obviously our community involvement wasn’t taken into consideration.
“I’m confident that on capacity and capability, we weren’t matched by any other providers.
“It’s incredibly disappointing from our perspective.”
Mr Bailey said the YMCA had good relationships with local aquatic groups Bendigo Hawks and the Bendigo diving group.
Both groups expressed their concern about the new tenderer.
“We don’t know what is going to happen under this new company,” diving club coach Heather Tyter said. “We are very disappointed the Y’s contract wasn’t extended.
“We had amazing service from them. They have run it so well.
“I’m not saying it will be any different but we are concerned about not having a local group look after it.”
Bendigo Hawks head coach Ashley Wain said he hoped the Melbourne company would “support the development of local athletes as much as the Y have”. Belgravia Leisure chief executive officer Adrian Johnston said
he looked forward to meeting the local groups and listening to their needs.
“Belgravia Leisure has extensive experience managing aquatic and leisure centres throughout Australia,” he said.
“As such, we are well aware of the requirements of a vast array of user groups.
“We look forward to consulting the local Bendigo clubs from all of the pools to ensure they continue to enjoy use of the facilities.”